NEW MEXICO (KRQE) – The U.S Department of Transportation is spending millions of dollars to improve public transit. The Ohkay Owingeh Tribe in Rio Arriba County will receive about $582,000 to replace its facility. However, many cities across the county may not find these grants particularly useful right now.
The U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao announced Tuesday the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) will award approximately $14.9 million in transit infrastructure funding to improve the safety and reliability of Colorado’s bus systems and enhance mobility for transit riders.
“This Administration is committed to rebuilding our nation’s transportation infrastructure even though the current COVID-19 crisis and this $464 million in federal grants will help improve the safety and reliability of transit bus service nationwide as the economy returns,” said Chao in a press release Tuesday.
USDOT says the funding supports projects to replace, rehabilitate, and purchase buses and related equipment, as well as projects to purchase, rehabilitate, and construct bus-related facilities.
“Millions of Americans rely on public transportation to access healthcare, jobs, and other vital services,” said FTA Deputy Administrator K. Jane Williams in the same press release. “During this unprecedented time, we need to ensure access and mobility for the riders who depend on our nation’s bus systems.”
According to a press release from the Department of Transportation, five projects in Colorado through the Colorado Department of Transportation will receive a total of $14.9 million from FTA’s Grants for Buses and Bus Facilities Program to support the following projects:
- Roaring Fork Transportation Authority (RFTA) will receive approximately $11.5 million to renovate and expand its maintenance facility into a centrally located regional center housing operations, maintenance and administration to accommodate growth in population, jobs and ridership. RFTA provides 5 million trips a year to three rural counties and eight towns in central Colorado.
- Archuleta County will receive approximately $1.8 million to build a bus center and buy a larger, ADA-compliant van to provide more reliable and efficient transit options for a growing ridership. The county plans to expand daily bus service from rural southwest Colorado to Durango, where riders access jobs, healthcare and other vital services.
- Eagle County Regional Transportation Authority (ECO Transit) in Eagle and Lake Counties will receive approximately $800,000 to purchase buses to replace aging buses that have exceeded their useful life.
- Durango Transit will receive approximately $479,000 to purchase buses to replace aging buses that have exceeded their useful life. The new buses will help improve the safety and reliability of Durango Transit’s fleet, which provides approximately 400,000 rides per year through mountainous terrain and challenging weather conditions.
- The Town of Estes Park will receive approximately $301,000 to construct a bus storage facility to house electric trollies used in its seasonal transit and shuttle service. Indoor storage will allow the Town to prolong the useful life of the trollies, including batteries, tires and vehicles, for serving residents and tourists in this gateway community to Rocky Mountain National Park.